Celtic maintain lead over Rangers as Kyogo Furuhashi scores landmark goal in win over Hearts
The Japanese forward put the home side ahead on the hour mark to make it 25 in all competitions.
Hearts had taken an early lead through Josh Ginnelly before Daizen Maeda levelled. Both first-half goals were initially disallowed for offside before being awarded following the intervention of VAR, and both goalscorers went off injured before half-time. Celtic were not at their fluent best in the first half but dominated the second. They clinically punished Hearts after winning the ball back and breaking quickly for Furuhashi to put them on their way to an 18th consecutive domestic home win as they maintained their nine-point lead over Rangers. Substitute Sead Haksabanovic wrapped up the three points with a glorious goal in the 84th minute as he cut in from the left side of the box and curled into the top corner from 18 yards. The teams will meet again in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals on Saturday at Tynecastle and both managers made changes with the schedule in mind. Celtic brought in Anthony Ralston, Alexandro Bernabei, Matt O'Riley and Liel Abada with Greg Taylor dropping out of the 20-man squad. Hearts made six changes with the likes of Lawrence Shankland, Alex Cochrane and Robert Snodgrass absent. Ange Postecoglou was visibly frustrated with some of his players' decisions to pass the ball back in the opening stages and his mood worsened when Hearts took a sixth-minute lead. Jorge Grant found Andy Halliday in space up the left flank and the former Rangers player delivered an inviting far-post cross which Ginnelly converted with a diving header. Replays showed the forward was level with Carl Starfelt when the ball came in. Celtic took until midway through the half before creating clear-cut chances. Abada scuffed a shot wide and Furuhashi got underneath a header in quick succession. The equaliser soon came after Ralston sent Furuhashi into the channel. The forward delivered a low cross to his fellow Japan international Maeda to slide in and finish from six yards. Furuhashi was flagged offside but Halliday had played him on. Maeda had collided with Zander Clark when scoring and was soon replaced by Jota but the Japanese contingent was soon bolstered when Hearts forward Yutaro Oda came on for Ginnelly. Both sides had chances before the break. Joe Hart saved from Grant and Alan Forrest while Jota hit the post with a bouncing effort and Ralston was not far over the bar with an acrobatic overhead kick. Aaron Mooy and Cameron Carter-Vickers were off target with efforts after the break before Jota began the move that led to Celtic's second goal by dispossessing Cammy Devlin just inside the Hearts half. The Portuguese winger played the ball inside for Mooy, who played a perfect pass to feed the clever movement of Furuhashi, who shot high past Clark. Abada soon had the chance to set up Furuhashi after Ralston's excellent pass inside the full-back but the winger sent his low cross into Clark's hands. Hearts lost substitute Oda to injury with Garang Kuol the latest to lead the line. The Australian had a shot well blocked by Carter-Vickers in a rare second-half Hearts attack before Haksabanovic put the game beyond doubt.
The article Celtic maintain lead over Rangers as Kyogo Furuhashi scores landmark goal in win over Hearts appeared first on Planetsport.com.